Torrey Pines South Course Review Redux

Another Farmers, another re-post of my Torrey Pines course review. Enjoy!

Go To San Diego, Play The Course, That Is All

Is that really the worst way to spend a few days in the winter? If you’re not paying attention, it is Farmers Insurance Open week in San Diego. The Torrey Pines courses are in play Thursday and Friday with all the action moving to the big boy South course for the weekend. My course review from 2014 is worth the read if you have the time and have an interest in Torrey Pines.

That’s really all I have to say. More musings later. Enjoy.

Torrey Pines South Course Review

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Two For Thomas, Rors Down And Out, And More In Tuesday Takes

Thomas Takes Two

If you’re a PGA Tour fan you have to love Justin Thomas. There’s no other way to slice it. He’s talented. He’s humble. His swing is a thing of beauty. He’s young. And he’s really fucking good. About 15 months ago it would have been easy for someone to write how he’s in the next group of stars but hasn’t broken out yet, lived up to the hype, whatever cliche you want to throw out there from a lazy journo. Thomas won near the end of 2015 to give us a taste and then won the same event again in 2016 to make sure we didn’t forget about him. Then the calendar flipped.

All he’s done since then is blow away the field at the Tournament of Champions (beside Matsuyama) and dominate the Sony Open from the jump with a Thursday 59. Don’t be blinded by the 59 and let that first anecdote slip by too fast. Before the Sony he was the only man in the world who’d beat Matsuyama in a few months. Two do it twice, and then back it up with another win and rise to number 8 in the world (21 spots in two weeks!) is rarefied air.

Sure there’s been guys like Joe Durant who won 2 events to start a season and then disappeared for 11 months, but there’s also been guys like Jimmy Walker who’ve done something similar and used two quick wins to springboard their year and career. Thomas is clearly trending more toward what Walker did, minus 15 years of grinding. Thomas’ Masters odds are still in the 25 or 30 to 1 range depending on where you look. Get him while you can.

Rory’s Rib

Rory kicked off his 2017 on the Euro Tour by playing in the South African Open. He looked brilliant at times and rusty at others. He eventually lost in a 3 hole playoff to Graeme Storm, a journeyman who hadn’t won in a decade and wouldn’t even have status this year if Patrick Reed had played enough ET events in 2016. Once Rors knocked the rust off he was insanely good for stretches. Binges of birdies and eagles, 5 woods flown 300 yards, hole out eagles from the fairway. But he did lose thanks to a missed 5 footer in the playoff. Can you ever remember Tiger doing that?

Image result for Rory McIlroy rib injury

I looked at the whole week as a very positive start to the year for Rors in spite of the playoff loss. He has a lot more golf ahead of him and majors are the only thing he’s keeping track of these days. Then he announced a rib injury today that will keep him away from golf for an unknown amount of time.

I don’t think that tweet is that hot of a take. Remember a few years ago when Snedeker looked like the best golfer on the planet. He won a Pebble then sat for weeks with a rib injury and was never the same guy that season. I don’t think the whole year is a wash for Rors, but the Masters is 80 some days away. If this lingers in to mid February it will hurt his prep for Augusta.

Furyk For France

In other less than ideal news for golf fans, Jim Furyk was named the 2018 Ryder Cup Team Captain for the United States. Ugh. Sure Jim ‘deserves’ a chance because of his resume, his grit, blah blah blah…….fuck that. The dude is the biggest loser in U.S. Ryder Cup history. Look up his record, this isn’t hyperbole. He has no business being a captain based on how many times he’s been drubbed by a lower ranked Euro.

Image result for Jim Furyk ryder cup captain

Oh wait, it gets worse. He was asked by the media if being named captain meant he would not consider himself as a playing team member. He didn’t rule it out. If Jim makes it on points, which isn’t off the table with as much as he plays, he’ll play and be captain. That’s stepping on my genitals and spitting on me all in one motion. Thanks PGA of America! I don’t get how these guys can continue to ignore Fred Couples as a Ryder Cup Captain option. Yes, I know he did a few tour as Prez Cup cap, but so what? He won and the players love him. Freddie in France is the perfect combination. He’d probably bag some froggie babe (is there such a thing?) while leading the boys down the Champs-Elysees for the opening ceremonies.

What The Fuck?

That’s all I can say for this one. Take a look and you’ll see why:

When you put a ring on it 💍@djohnsonpga @kmelnichenko @sara.cuse @brookehurt @tygretzky @awood47 @jeremyc0hen

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

So DJ goes from Kapalua to some ski vacation with Paulina and this is their idea of fun? What, did they run out of blow? This is the move of a desperate man, like she said she’d let him have a 4 way if he did it. He doesn’t look too engaged in the acts of the video minus that one scene. I expect this from Ben Crane or Bubba, not DJ. I almost took his POTY award away for this.

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Equipment Review: OptiShot2 Home Golf Simulator

Winter Sucks, I Do My Best To Make The Most Of It

What is a golf nut supposed to do when you live in the Midwest, the ground is covered with 10 inches of snow, and it is 27 degrees outside? You have an epiphany that your garage has 10 foot ceilings and insulated walls that make it possible for you to hit golf balls in there. That’s a start, and something for a desperate man to make the best of. Last year that lead me to drape a net in the corner, buy a range mat, and hook up an Ernest Sports launch monitor to get my winter fix. This year I decided I needed more visuals so I upgraded my garage range with an OptiShot2 home simulator.

20170108_170016

Set Up

My set up is anything but glamorous. First, there’s no actual heat in my garage. I can make it about 20 degrees warmer than the outside temp thanks to a space heater. That made things a little chilly when it was 14 last weekend, but 35 degrees in the garage with a stocking cap on my head and no breeze and I was fine. You don’t need 10 foot ceilings because the OptiShot is usable without even hitting a ball (more on that later) but it does make the experience more realistic and helps you get your ‘winter conditioning’ in. I back out the cars, sweep, turn on the heater, move all the kids toys out of the way, drop the net and mats, hook up the OptiShot to a PC and use my recycling bin as a desk. Nothing fancy, but it does the job and I’m hitting balls in 10 minutes. I cut a spot for the Optishot sensor in my old mat and use that to complete my hitting area.

The recycling bin is a nice touch, I know.

The recycling bin is a nice touch, I know.

The garden hoses and deck furniture in for the winter aren’t in play for me, neither is the window, but I did hangover shank one wedge (out of about 1000) into the drywall last winter. I suppose that’s there forever. I’m going to try to create some sort of shank shutter for the window for when my drunk neighbors decide they want to tee it up. I also bring out a flat screen TV for a monitor when necessary. Maybe next year I’ll upgrade to a screen with a projector and ditch the net.

What’s In The Box? 

Not much. That’s part of the beauty of this operation. OptiShot provides you with this piece of turf with infrared sensors built in, a long USB cord, a foam ball, a rubber tee holder, and some instructions as to how to get their software. The software is simple, you go to the site and access a download with your product code. Done.

Image result for optishot2 box

The foam ball is worthless unless you’re playing in the house without a net. Hitting off the small turf area with nothing around it can play with your head so I suggest cutting a space into your mat or whatever you’re hitting off of. I’d also suggest being on the same level as the sensor, i.e. not standing on the bare floor while the OptiShot sensor has the ball raised an inch. That’s no way to get better.

How It Works

Once you’ve got the software and the USB lines hooked up you’re all set. The menus on the program are easy to use. You can create a log in to get software updates and play online. If online stuff isn’t your thing then you can use the practice range or play several courses. Honestly, I could use this all day just in the range mode, but the on course experience keeps things interesting and makes you think about the shots you’re trying to hit.

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The simulator is nearly ready to use out of the box, but for best results you’ll need to hit the range and set up your bag and configure your clubs. The sensors pick up your club path and swing speed. You select the club you’re hitting and if you’ve set up your set honestly you’ll get lifelike results. I have my launch monitor next to the OptiShot to check its accuracy and it is within 5 yards on 95% of my shots. It carry a 5 iron 190-195. When I hit it flush on the OS it will go 180 into an 8 mph wind and 205-10 with that same wind. You can also set your settings to indicate the use of a foam ball or no ball, but what fun is that?

My two biggest complaints about the OptiShot2 are next. First, the short game. When you miss a green you have to try to feel what a certain yardage feel like while hitting into a net. The distance the ball will travel also varies on the lie you have. For example, you miss a green short side in a bunker. The OS tells you that you have a 18 yard shot in the bunker. You can see a lip you have to hit it over, so now you have to tell OS that you’re going to hit it higher and then guess at how much harder you have to swing because of the sandy lie. This is probably a better experience when you have a screen to hit into that has the course projected on to it (the full simulator experience). Putting is similar, but you can read the green on the screen, adjust your alignment through the PC, and putt over the sensors with some feel once you figure it out. I do recommend setting gimmies inside of 5 feet. Some of the club path feedback from OS is valuable in analyzing your putting stroke so using the flat stick on OptiShot isn’t a total waste.

Image result for Optishot tape image

Additionally, there is one huge glitch with the OptiShot2. Luckily there is an easy fix for it. The OS sensors don’t work well with woods that have a black and/or jagged finish on the bottom. Silver and smooth is what works best. I used my Titleist 915 D3 for two rounds with the OS telling me I was hitting a 20 yard push cut on 3/4 of my tee shots. This model is black on the bottom with the active recoil channel. That puts it in the black and jagged category for the OS sensors.

I miss that club right maybe 1 in 5 swings. I thought I was just slashing it and was trying to make corrective swings. The OptiShot feedback said my clubface was open anywhere from 5 to 20 percent. What the fuck? After digging around online I read where several people had the same experience. To fix it you simply have to take a piece of white or silver reflective tape and put it over the unsmooth part of the bottom of your club and make sure it is square/parallel to the club face. That will allow the OS sensors to pick up the club accurately. I added tape and have had no issues since. That is not my pic above, not my hand, club or car either. I used TyVek tape leftover from finishing our basement.

Courses

The game comes with some classics, like Cog Hill, both Torrey Pines courses, Bethpage Black, Kapalua, Riviera, and several more. For a fee, either in a package or each separate, you can download bonus courses like Pebble Beach, Medinah, St. Andrews, and Sawgrass. They look good and are pretty accurate (I’ve played a lot of these for real) but aren’t perfect. They also look better when I use a TV as a monitor instead of the laptop. You can see the view from the first tee at the Riv below.

20170108_170120

Buying the courses one at a time is a $30 charge. That seems steep when the OS itself retails for about $299 unless you get an upgraded package with nets, mats, etc. Also, most of the courses don’t use their real names. Obviously there’s a copyright issue with them. You’ll recognize Riviera as “Hogan’s Alley”. Bethpage Black is “Long Island Black”. Medinah No. 3. is “the Windy City Club”. And so on. Warwick Hills, an old club that is nothing great today, uses its real name for some reason. Warwick hosted the PGA Tour’s now defunct Buick Open for over fifty years in the Flint, Michigan area.

When OptiShot first launched, both in the original and the second model, the course list included “Sweet Magnolia” – an Augusta National ripoff. The screen shots of that course look as good as the old Tiger Woods video game that had Augusta on it. For unexplained reasons the OptiShot people pulled it from the software in a 2016 update. I suspect the Men of the Masters got wind of the unlicensed use of their club and made some lawyer-ed up threats. Fuckers.

Overall

The OptiShot2 simulator isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun for a golf nut to have access to for the winter and it does give you good feedback on your swing. I do suggest having a launch monitor on hand to back up the results the simulator gives. At the price point these sell for there is no better option. I picked mine up on Ebay. All in for the net, the OS, and two mats I’m only about $300 invested into it. That’s pretty damn reasonable. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll respond.

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I Can Always Do Worse – Predictions For 2017

Well Hello There 2017, I See You Coming…

I’ve been so bad at my annual predictions on this site that I hesitate to even attempt them again. Why bother? I’ll pick some big tournament winners, none of them will come true, and everything else I say will only give us something to laugh at by this time next year. I guess that’s worth it. Here we go.

Go West Young Man

The Tour is underway in Maui as I type this. The sights are glorious and the golf is fun, but we’re not going to care who wins. They’ll likely be first in the Fed Ex points for a week or so but who gives a shit? The West Coast swing truly starts when the big boys show up on the mainland. I’ll call some ho-hum winners for the T of C, the Sony, and the Hope, and then things get interesting at Torrey Pines when Jason Day takes his 2nd Farmers in 2 years.

Image result for jason day torrey pines image

In Phoenix we get a Bubba Watson/Justin Thomas showdown that ends in Bubba crying while Thomas gets the big check and big prize. Thomas is playing his ass off and is long over due for a PGA Tour win in his home hemisphere. At Pebble we get Jimmy Walker holding off Dustin Johnson while using a 35 inch driver. And then, playing his 3rd event of the season, we finally see Tiger Woods contend at Rivieria but not win. He’ll lose by two to Jordan Spieth and golf Twitter will lose its fucking mind on Sunday.

Image result for Tiger Woods Jordan Spieth image

Running Up To The Masters

The WGC event that starts the Florida Swing will be played in…..Mexico? What the fuck? There’s no telling who wins on a new course. This smells like a Jason Dufner/Daniel Berger showdown and Berger gets the better of Duf-daddy. We’re right back in the WGC saddle and back in Austin for the Match Play Championship that will be won by Ryan Moore after he beats Rafael Cabrera Bello in the final match.

That music can only mean one thing, we’re getting close to Augusta. We’re already under 100 days to the first major of 2017. The buzz in Augusta will be about Spieth bouncing back from his 2016 collapse and if Rory can complete the career Grand Slam. Don’t count on either happening. With strep throat, allergies, a bad back, and a hang nail, Jason Day wins his 2nd major and first green jacket.

Player’s Club

As the Tour moves on from the Masters, I’ll spare you the trouble of contemplating who wins anything between the Masters and the Players with one exception, the Zurich. Why’s that you ask? The Zurich announced in November that it will be a team format. 1st round alternate shot, 2nd round four ball. 80 teams cut to 35. No non-members outside some sponsor’s exemptions. To get to 35 teams there will be a playoff if necessary. I’m in!

Olympic medalists Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will team up next year at the Zurich Classic. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Back to alternate shot for Saturday and 4-ball again Sunday with birdies galore. Winners takes all and the team splits the money and Fed Ex points. That’s fucking fantastic. When this was announced the bro-mances flared up all over social media. Rickie and JDay are in, Keegan Bradley will play with Brendan Steele, and gold medal winner Justin Rose will play with silver medalist Henrik Stenson. They’re the champs, book it.

The Players should be glorious and fun, there’s been a few tweaks to the course, one of which is making the short par four 12th hole drive-able. That only means someone like Jim Furyk will win to be Buzz Killington.

Image result for buzz killington

Erin’s Whats?

At the Memorial Tiger Woods is back in contention, but he fails to win again and Kevin Na of all people stands next to Jack with the trophy on Sunday. Between Na and Furyk winning I already hate 2017. Tiger’s fine play ramps up his status as a favorite at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, but then he misses the cut after revealing that Khloe’ Kardashian is his new girlfriend.  I just threw up in my mouth.

Image result for Erin Hills image

Outside of who Tiger is fucking, the story at the Open becomes the golf course. Erin Hills is majestic, but Mother Nature has other ideas and nearly rains the championship out. Instead of giving the field a firm and bumpy track the USGA has to let them play lift, clean and place. Rory shoots 14 under and wins by 6. He loves soggy turf and his nuptials are 2 months in his review mirror. Life is good for Rors.

The Home Stretch

You want to know where Big Cat gets his 1st win in his comeback? West fucking Virginia. You heard it here first. TW wins the Jim Justice Open at Greenbrier and the world barely takes notice thanks to the big 4th of July holiday blowouts. Once everyone wakes up from barbecue comas and notices he won the money in Vegas comes in hand over fist for him to win the British Open.

Image result for Tiger Woods greenbrier image

And then he misses the cut for the 2nd time in three 2017 majors. Poor Tiger. Who’s the winner? I see a 3 man playoff including Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia. I’d like to give Garcia an early wedding present (he announced his plans to get married this year today) but he’s too snake bit to ever get a major. This one goes to Casey. He finished 2016 strong. 2017 will be pretty quiet for him until he peaks at Royal Birkdale.

But hey, good for Garcia that he finally found a girl to marry. She must remind him of Jose Maria.

In Akron at Firestone Tiger is finally back in a WGC field thanks to his Greenbrier win. He wins by 5 and 9,568 golf publications declare he’s back. He finally makes the cut again at a major when the PGA is held at Quail Hollow but never finds his name on the first page of the leaderboard. Instead North Carolina guys like Webb Simpson and Bill Haas scare us by nearly winning until the dust settles and Patrick Reed is the last man standing.

Image result for Patrick Reed screaming image

In the Fed Ex events I’ll take Rory, Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, and Spieth as the winners, but with no one watching the Tour finally announces it’s not-so-secret plans on moving the Fed Ex events to August, the PGA to May, and the Players back to March.

The President’s Cup ends the season for all intents and purposes at Liberty National in the NYC area. Phil Mickelson misses making the team automatically and asks not to be picked for the team. Bitch Tits then replaces Woods as a vice captain as Woods makes the team and plays. He pairs with Reed to go 4-0-1 but the U.S. continues their streak of losing team events in which Tiger is a part of. Bummer.

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Repeat Offender

Worth Every Penny

I put a decent amount of work into a course review when I write one. I wish I could do more but I don’t get out enough to courses you guys actually want to hear about. I also don’t review private tracks (I’m their guest) or places I play close to home. So when the Tour visits a course I’ve played and reviewed I make sure to bring back up the post from my archives.

Image result for kapalua plantation course image

My 2014 review of Kapalua’s Plantation Course, from my trip there in 2010, can be found by hitting the link you’re reading in this sentence. The pros tee off on Thursday in Maui this year, FYI. That’s a change from the past when the started on Friday and ended on Monday to try to avoid football audiences picking a playoff game over a limited field event in paradise. I guess that didn’t work. I’ll be back later in the week with my 2016 predictions. Oh, and for fantasy picks this week, how can you go against Matsuyama?

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The Shutters 2016: WAG of the Year

Putting A Bow On The Show

It is time to get this thing over with, the year, the Shutters, etc. All of it. They’ve both gone on long enough. The Shutter for WAG of the Year was the show stopper for the first two years of these awards. In 2016 it is the one I’ve dreaded handing out. The past winners include Amanda Dufner, Alexis Randock (Rickie Fowler), and Paige Spiranac. Dufner and Randock have since parted ways with their star golfing significant others. That’s bad mojo for anyone nominated this year. Good luck, ladies, the category is wide open. I try to stick with actual wives and/or girlfriends but as you can see with Paige winning last year I’ll also legitimately nominate an up and coming viral smoke show that golfs. Paige was a force of nature last year, she deserved it. Who’s going to get the SFG curse for 2016????

The Nominees Are…

Jillian Stacey Bradley – Jillian is the new bride of Keegan Bradley. The couple was engaged in 2015 and smartly waited until after the 2016 PGA Tour season was over to tie the knot. The New England couple then took to Italy for a honeymoon you should never show your wife or girlfriend pictures of because you’ll never be able to live up to it (this is the same reason you don’t watch BBD porn with your girl).

Image result for jillian stacey bradley

Recently married, super hot, she’s a lock, right? Because she’s actually with a golfer and not the golfer herself his year counts for or against her too. He only had two top 10s and probably made about as much as he spent on the wedding. Ouch Keegs.

Paulina Gretzky – The fiance’ and baby momma to Dustin Johnson, Paulina has been a WOTY nominee on SFG.com before. In 2013 she and pictures of her wearing little clothing practically carried this site to a level of readership that kept me going. She’s still dead sexy and Dustin’s game has never been better since she came along nearly 4 years ago.

🌴❤️☀️ @djohnsonpga

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

The power couple has a young son together and they’re still planning on getting married (I’m hearing early 2018). I think this is her year. Dustin’s year was too good and she’s too hot to ignore. His major win at Oakmont in the U.S. Open just might be enough to put her over the top.

Elise Lobb – Elise is former collegiate golfer at Northern Florida University. She can play but you won’t see her trying to climb the ladies professional ranks anytime soon. She’s far more likely to appear on your TV as some kind of media persona. She became 2016’s version of Paige Spiranac after her good looks, charms, and fun personality went slightly viral. She also held down a month or so as the SFG Up & Comer of the Month.

Image result for Elise Lobb

Elise seems to have a few jobs in smaller roles for various media outlets. I’m not sure what the Golf Channel is waiting for, with her background she’s be perfect on-air talent eye candy for almost any show they can think to put her on. Get it done!

Nicole Willett – The Masters Champion’s wife had a big year. Hubby Danny won a green jacket, they had a baby the same week he won his first major, and then she got to deal with her brother-in-law’s foot in mouth episode surrounding the Ryder Cup.

Image result for nicole willett

Like Paulina, Mrs. Willett gets bonus points for her man winning a 2016 major. Unlike Paulina, she also gets bonus points for following me on Twitter. I obviously don’t know her personally, but she seems like the real deal. Down to earth, not interested in celebrity status, and more concerned about being a good mom than flashing photos of her amazing life around on social media. That’s a good thing for someone in her shoes.

And The Winner Is…

This isn’t that clear cut. You’ve got a new bride, a new mom, some WAGs with major trophies on their mantles right now, and a new viral golf sweetheart. I could give this to anyone. I’ll take Lobb out of this right now. She’s fantastic but she doesn’t hold a candle to Paige who won last year for the same reasons. Stacey Bradley, she’s out too because she must have distracted Keegan all year with wedding bullshit for him to have played like that. Paulina is the winner. I can’t deny her again. I’d like to say Dustin’s performance at Oakmont put her over the top, but the reality is this work by a Fox cameraman is what got her the win.

So yeah, I gave her the win for wearing that white mini knowing she’d be in front of millions of eyeballs with her guy winning the national championship. #LonglivePaulina indeed, and congrats to her for winning the SFG Wag of the Year award.

I think I got it right. I don’t need you to confirm it, but I’ve always given you a voice here and I always with. The poll and the comments are here for you to tell me how you feel. Don’t be bashful. Happy New Year!

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Tiger The Mac Daddy Santa

A ShutFace Christmas Tradition

Death, taxes, and a ShutFaceGolf.com Xmas post. Those are certainties of life since this blog was started nearly four years ago. Last year I gave you ‘ShutFace Clause Coming to Town’. In 2014, ‘O’Twitter Feed’ was the song of the season. And in 2013, a ShutFace classic, ‘The Night Before Golfmas‘ was born. This year, we’ll revise your favorite song about a red nosed reindeer and hit the topic of the day hard. In case you missed it, I’m talking about Tiger Woods. He’s supposed to tee it up with President-elect Donald Trump tomorrow. Just to make things interesting, he tweeted this tonight. Here goes nothing…

You know Arnie and Gary and Jack and Lord Nelson
Hogan and Snead and Faldo and Mickelson,
But do you recall?
The most famous multi-major winner of all
?

Tiger the Mac Daddy Santa
Has a ton of dirty hoes 
And if you ever saw this tweet
You would even say it blows.
All of the other golfers
Viewed it to laugh and call him names
They blasted poor Tiger
And put him in a bunch of memes. 

Then one Christmas Eve Eve,
Mac Daddy Santa came to say,
Mr. Trump with your fake tan hide,
I’m not giving you 15 shots a side. 

Then all the fan boys loved him again,
As they sat down to pee,
Tiger, the Mac Daddy Santa
You have no chance at Jack’s history!

I’ll admit, that’s not my best, but at least it is current. I told my followers I’d recreate the shot with what I have around the house and Hershey Kisses for my nipples if my tweet was liked or retweeted 100 times. With a few hours to go what is left of my dignity is looking safe. I’ll update this post if that changes before I pass out.

Merry Christmas from ShutFaceGolf.com.

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The Shutters 2016: Tweeter of the Year

After The Longest Break In Award Show History…

And we’re back. Wow, that was a long break. That is what happens when you mix Taco Bell and Ex-Lax. Ok, that’s a bad shit joke. On with the show. This one is the Tweeter of the Year. In case you’re new here let me explain that this isn’t about actual tweeting, but that does help. This is an award for a person or an entity using social media to make the golfing world more entertaining, funny, and informative in 140 characters at a time. Instagrams, SnapChats, tweets, they’re all in play here (except Facebook, fuck Facebook in the face).

Last year Adam Sarson won and he deserved the award more than any other prior winner. 2014 gave us everyone’ favorite fan boy club, @NolayingUp. And 2013…..fuck I don’t remember….oh yeah, ESPN’s Jason Sobel. That’s a pretty elite club. Only one of those handles have blocked me since! Who will win for 2016? I think there is a clear favorite, but I’ll save that for the rest of the post.

And The Nominees Are…

@JohnPetersonPGA – John is a PGA Tour member once again and you’ll see him with full status in 2016 as he returns from injury. He’s a outdoor loving Texan who hunts and kills anything with fur or feathers. He’s rather outspoken and loves ‘merica and the military. He’s not afraid to speak his political mind, either, which might be the only knock I have on him for this award. I tend to agree with John on such issues, but I don’t read my Twitter feed for that type of stuff. Here’s a 140 character or less sampling of John’s work.

Jack Handy couldn’t have said it better. John does get extra credit for his fine work on SnapChat. The Xmas display he put up has nothing on Clark Griswold.

@Skratch – Best known as SkratchTV, of SkratchTV.com, this multimedia juggernaut doesn’t say who they are or what their M.O. is, they just put out amazing clips, gifs, and other entertainment that brings a smile to my face almost every day. They are absolutely killing it, there’s no other way to say it. Here’s a sample:

If you don’t get that, I can’t help you. Their material is typically relevant to the topic de jour and as you can see above, there’s often a fun-loving throw back element in it. What’s not to love about Skratch?

@EuropeanTour – Call me un-American, but the ET Twitter handle absolutely blow away what its American counterpart in Ponte Vedra produces in the Social Media world. The Euros have been ahead of us in this regard since the birth of the internet it seems. They probably have to be more interweb entertainment savvy to get fringe soccer fans involved. Hey, whatever it takes. From gong challenges to Rory being interviewed by a kid, the ET media savants usually strike gold.

Who the fuck thought of that? It is NSFW because it is the purest form of golf porn I’ve ever seen on the Twitter. But that’s what @EuropeanTour does, and it never takes a day off. God bless.

@DougFerguson405 – Last but not least there’s Mr. Doug Ferguson, an Associated Press Golf journo.  Doug was nominated for the award before but didn’t win. He is as old school as it gets. He’s a writer/journo above anything else. He writes with integrity (unlike anything you’ll find on this site). He writes based on fact. And he’s typically one of the first on site of a big boy tournament to give you some context and perspective of what just happened, why, and what it means for golf history. He is a pro’s pro, and luckily for us he’s adapted to the new media to give us all his abridged thoughts via Twitter. Thank you, Doug.

I don’t know him personally but many of my peers have met him and speak highly of him. Having read him for nearly 4 years now it is easy to see why. I’ve often heard from some young bloggers and journos that Doug is one of the first media veterans to give advice to rookies in the golf journo ranks. That’s worth a few ‘good-guy’ points in my book.

And The Winner Is

Doug Ferguson? I like Doug, I’d like to give him some type of lifetime achievement award, but the Shutter for Tweeter of the Year for 2016 isn’t going to be his. John Peterson? No, not him either. Pictures of dead ducks and deer won’t get it done when there’s much stiffer competition (rigamortis pun fully intended). There’s nothing about what the EuroTour does on Twitter that I don’t like. In any other year I’d probably declare them the winner without a second thought. But they aren’t Skratch, no one is. Skratch is witty, subtle, and very entertaining to a golf nerd like me. They’re the winner going away, and the following two tweets along with the one shown above in this post are 3 of the best montages I’ve watched this year.

Good thing JT didn’t ask to sing with Liza Minnelli. I can’t decide which one I like more, JT and Gus or “Putt It”.

Tough call, but both are award worthy and Skratch already has the hardware. Every past winner of this Shutter has responded to a ShutFaceGolf tweet or post to provide some form of an acceptance speech. You’re on the clock Skratch. We won’t even play the music to boot you off the stage.

This is the part where I typically let you weigh in on a poll to tell me I’m wrong about who I gave an award to. I’m hesitant to do so with this one because I feel so strongly about my selection. But because I want you guys to have a voice and understand you’re part of this place, the reason for any content, etc. I’ll stick with tradition. Just a reminder, if you pick ‘Other’ you have to leave a comment to explain your decision.

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Random Thoughts With An Eye Toward 2017

If I Were A Betting Man

The PGA Tour tells us their off season is the 3 days between the last shot hit at the Ryder Cup and the first shot hit the following Thursday at the Safeway Open. That’s a fact. We know it isn’t true but we mock it and laugh at it just the same. Of course the true off season for the players is the month of December. The silly season World Challenge Shark Shootout Father/Son Opens are all done and there’s no more golf that matters until we see our heroes again at Kapalua in January. This true off season also means players that have been fiddling with equipment and wardrobe changes start announcing their new endorsements to the golf world. When a multi-green-jacket-winning player signs on with a new ball company after a decade with another, it makes you say hmmmmm………

Image result for Bubba Watson volvik image

Yes, that’s right, Gerry Watson Jr. has put his Pro V1s in the dumpster and will play Volvik balls for as long as his contract says according to ESPN.com. Who did you think I was talking about? Volvik is best known for sponsoring LPGA events and selling balls in a variety of bright colors. Watson already uses a pink driver with a pink shaft, will he use a pink ball too? That sounds like something he’d sign on for. He can’t talk about it until his Titleist contract expires at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Can’t wait for that tweet!

Oh yeah, Tiger got new balls too. The 650th player in the world, Tiger Woods, signed with Bridgestone and announced it via Twitter yesterday. He’ll play the B330-S.

That isn’t going to look or feel right, but that’s a helluva signing for the tire company. He’ll move product. With moves like this and Eldrick having Taylormade woods in his bag 2017 feels like a big year of change in golf. TW hasn’t been relevant for 3+ years. That comes to a screeching halt as I think he’s going to contend early and often in the new year. He’s already announced that he’ll play in L.A. at Riviera 8 weeks from now. Word on the street is he’ll also play in the middle east in January.

In my last post about 1/4 of you said you thought TW would win in 2017. Are you guys going to put your money where your mouth is? I think I would. 25 to 1 at the Masters? I’m not ready to go that far, but I am seeing 12 to 1 to win a tournament. That seems like a no-brainer. I’m also seeing odds of 15 to 1 for any player to win 2 majors. I need to call my bookie. Rory could have that locked up by July. FYI I’m seeing these at MyTopSportsBooks.com in this post written last week. I think he’s got it about right, which ones do you like? I think I agree with his Spieth take too.

That’s all for now. I had to give you something as I scratched my head on the Volvik/Watson news. SFG will be ramping up production a bit with the Shutter Awards coming to an end and my annual epic Christmas post on the horizon. Stay tuned.

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Weekend Golf For Tiger – Everybody Wins!

I’m Not Going To Say The B Word

Tiger Woods completed 4 rounds of tournament golf for the first time in nearly 500 calendar days. Read that again to yourself. Repeat it. And get used to seeing a lot more Tiger in your golfing world for the foreseeable future. I had low expectations for him after he weirded out of playing in the Safeway Open in October. All reports that week were that he was ready to go. He even recommitted to the event the Friday before it was to begin, then on Monday he was out. He had some mental block that was keeping him from teeing it up. Woods waited for safer pastures to return to at the no cut Hero event he hosts. Wise move.

No matter what you think of his 15th place finish (out of 18), this last weekend of golf was more than anyone could have imagined from Tiger after missing 16 months. He looked happy, secure in what he was doing, and most importantly – healthy. Tiger told the media he was down 10 pounds due to a Thanksgiving illness he and his family caught. That lead to some late round fatigue you could see from him in 3 of the four rounds he played. Said fatigue killed some good to average rounds and turned them into garbage. Oh well. His driver wasn’t perfect. Several of the few demanding tee shots the Albany course offers caused him mental anguish. But that is all nitpicking.

Outside of the those scabs he was vintage Tiger. He lead the field in birdies and eagles (and double bogies), he rocked a few 350 yard bombs off the tee, he made 20 foot round saving par putts after hitting a ball offline, nearly aced a par 3, and holed out an amazing bunker shot. That sounds pretty damn good for me. I think TW’s entourage agrees. Here’s a live look at Steinie, Joe LaCava, and Notah Begay:

All that Tiger fellating is great and gives you the feelgoods, but where there any real takeaways or insights we could get from a weekend of silly golf in the Bahamas? Yes. Abso-fucking-lutely. His swing looked smooth and natural. Gary Koch gave a great analysis of Tiger’s swing positions from 2015 to what we saw this weekend. He had better balance, foot work, rotation, less movement, and less of a violent transition from the top. All good things for his quest to win more majors and stay healthy. His short game wasn’t perfect, there was some rust, but overall it looked damn good. The balky Nike putter was gone and the trade mark Scotty Cameron made a reappearance in the Bahamas too. I don’t think I saw him miss a putt you’d expect him to make.

He’s going to be good again. I didn’t say great. He’ll never be what he was but he’ll be solid and win a few times in the next few years. I don’t think it will take too long. He needs to play a full schedule. He needs to keep up whatever crazy health regimen he’s partaking in to stay healthy. He’s on the right course. I can’t wait to see what is next.

Oh….the actual tournament???? Yeah….ummm…..near dominant performance from Hideki. He’s inching up the world rankings. For his win he moved from 6th to….6th. Tiger moved up about 150 places for being 15th. What a system.

Nice playing, kid. Can we start fitting Matsuyama for a green jacket?

So what do you expect from Tiger in 2017?

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